Smart Risk Magazine Spring 2018 | Page 17

SPRING 2018 “MY MOTHER WASN’T ALLOWED TO ASK ANY QUESTIONS DURING THESE CALLS, AND I WASN’T ALLOWED TO SPEAK FREELY" ~ AMANDA to the script they had written and try to convince her family to pay the ransom. After fifteen long months, the Lindhout and Brennan families were able to raise enough ransom money to satisfy their children’s captors – $600,000, plus substantial expenses for negotiators – and Amanda and Nigel were finally freed. Following her release, Amanda was reunited with her family in Kenya, where she was hospitalized for a week before returning to Canada. COPING WITH TRAUMA In A House in the Sky, Amanda describes in rich detail the techniques she used to survive during her time in captivity. In fact, she used her main survival mechanism as the title for her book. “I would just try to escape in my mind to a sunny place, usually Vancouver,” she says. “I’d imagine running around in Stanley Park.” In another scenario, she found herself inside a metaphorical house in the sky with all the people she loved, safe, protected and enjoying a holiday meal. There were a number of other methods she used to survive during this period – which is not to say that she didn’t have dark thoughts of suicide at times – and her coping methods, she says, evolved along with the stages of her captivity. Early on, she changed her religion in an attempt to better connect with her captors. To the extent possible, she also tried to get to know her kidnappers and humanize them separate from the abusive terrorists they were. Amanda recalls that, “One was on the verge of getting married and others would speak about their families.” Amanda tried her best to see her captors with some compassion, as brainwashed vigilantes who had simply got caught up in the evil ways of their war-torn country. Of course, the thought of reuniting with her family was the strongest driver of her will to persevere. Despite all AMANDA LINDHOUT 17